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Even if you say that you take care of your teeth very well, you still can’t evade the fact that you still have to go and visit your dentist at least twice a year.
Sure, it’s really not fun to go to the dentist but if you really want to achieve the best personal dental care for your teeth, regular visits to the dentist would be of great help to you.
Tooth Decay Defined
Tooth decay and cavities are certainly related to each other, however, they are not technically the same. Also called dental caries, tooth decay is a gradual oral disease. It starts when the sticky plaque from food particles builds up bacterial populations that produce acid that destroy the protective layer of your teeth, the tooth enamel.
As the decay progresses, it creates a hole in your enamel, and that’s when you have a cavity in your tooth.
If you ignore it, you may have a nasty toothache, infection, and tooth loss even if you are still young. If you take care of your teeth from an early age, you will prevent tooth decay and cavities from destroying your smile and your enjoyment of eating without false teeth!
Typical Visits To The Dentist
Going to the dentist every six months is considered more as prevention against cavities, plaque build-up, and other teeth and mouth-related problems.
The goal of dentists is to prevent gum disease, tooth decay, and other disorders that put the health of your teeth and mouth in jeopardy.
A casual consultation with a dentist will usually consist of three parts: a medical and dental history (this is where the dentist asks questions about tooth care and reviews past dental records), a dental examination, and professional cleaning (oral prophylaxis).
The dentist will then examine the gums, teeth, and other tissues surrounding the mouth. The joints of the jaws may also be included in the examination to check for the overall health of an individual’s mouth.
Dentists usually use a probe and mirror to check the crown (the visible part) of each tooth for evidence of looseness, decay, or plaque. The dentist may also check the quality of your bite and the way your teeth fit together.
After checking the teeth, the dentist will usually proceed to examine the general condition of the gums. Healthy gums are pink and firm – not swollen, soft, or inflamed.
If the dentist can find deep depressions (or pockets), he or she might suspect that an individual has gum disease.
When the dentist is finished examining the visible parts of the mouth and teeth, the dentist will then take X-rays that could possibly reveal abscesses, tooth decay, or impacted wisdom teeth.
Abscesses should really be discovered right away because it involves the collection of puss surrounded by tissues that are swollen. If it won’t be treated right away, it might be a source of other complications.
Professional Cleaning vs Normal Tooth Brushing
Professional cleaning aims to remove hard deposits with the use of a scraping instrument named a scaler.
Aside from a scaler, an ultrasonic machine may also be used by the dentist; it uses high-frequency sound waves to facilitate the loosening of plaque deposits.
After cleaning, most dental hygienists will polish the teeth. Polishing of the teeth smoothens and cleans the teeth surfaces, removing annoying stains and making the teeth more resistant to plaque.
There are also some dental hygiene package that consists of the application of fluoride sealant or compound to help prevent or slow down decay.
Going to the dentist isn’t so bad after all. Now that you are already aware of what happens during a regular trip to the dentist, you would probably think that a trip to the dentist won’t be so bad, right?
If you want to promote personal dental care, you should be the first one to have the initiative to go to the dentist.
You cant achieve the best personal dental care if you just depend on yourself and your resources at home.
Dentists are equipped with tools, machines, and instruments that would surely make your teeth and mouth cleaner, fresher and better.
Tooth Decay Prevention
You can prevent tooth decay and cavities, or reverse them in their early stage, through these measures:
- Practice proper oral care every day. Gently and thoroughly brush your teeth after meals, floss once a day, and mouth rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash to reduce plaque and oral bacteria.
- Keep yourself hydrated with fresh water so your mouth doesn’t get dry.
- Chew sugar-free gum to help stimulate saliva, which is a natural cleansing agent that prevents the growth of bacteria and plaque on your teeth.
- Stay away from sugary foods and drinks, and avoid frequent snacking. Drinking sweet beverages can cause plaque and tartar buildup.
- Eat fruits and vegetables which help stimulate saliva flow.
- Have regular visits, at least once a year, to your dentist because cavities caught early are less painful to treat. Plus, if you have any other dental issues your dentist will see them.
Professional Dental Care
The dentist will also treat or prevent tooth decay with the following options:
- Apply a fluoride gel on your teeth to remineralize them. Calcium and phosphate nourish your tooth enamel. You lose these minerals as you age, and from eating acidic and sweetened foods. Periodically, you may need to replenish them by remineralization.
- Use preventive liquid dental sealants that will block the bacteria from entering your teeth. By sealing the hollows on your molars, they will be protected from decay and cavities for a long time. This treatment also applies to children and teens.
- Use antibacterial treatments particularly if you have a medical problem, such as diabetes. Your dentist may recommend or prescribe an antibacterial mouth rinse to help prevent tooth decay and cavities.
- If the cavities cannot be prevented from getting worse, the dentist may remove the tooth or fill the cavity.
Natural Home Remedies
If you are a person that doesn’t like to use fluoride-based products, you can try these natural home solutions:
- Apply aloe vera gel to your teeth. Based on research, this gel has an antibacterial effect and may aid in remineralizing the affected enamel to prevent cavities from forming.
- Consume licorice root. Based on a trial, licorice root and the extract from it are antibacterial and may help in preventing cavities.
- Eat foods rich in calcium and minerals like broccoli, collard greens, dairy, and kale.
- Reduce the consumption of foods high in phytic acids such as cereals, legumes, rice, nuts, and wheat. Phytic acid may damage the enamel because it prevents the absorption of minerals needed to prevent tooth decay and cavities. If you do eat any, clean your teeth as soon as possible.
- Take vitamins B, D, iron, and magnesium supplements. These are micronutrients needed for bone health and to control inflammation to prevent cavities. They will mineralize your teeth to strengthen the enamel and help lessen cavities considerably.
- Another option is eating whole grains and seafood like tuna, salmon, and sardines, which are also rich in vitamin D.
- There are foods that aid in producing saliva, like bananas, Brussels sprouts, and peas.
- Consume foods rich in natural probiotics to balance your acidic pH. These include fermented foods like kefir, kombucha, pickles, kimchi, some cheeses, and yogurt. They will increase the healthy bacteria in your mouth to defend against plaque and tooth decay.
- Avoid foods and drinks with an imbalanced pH like coffee, which promotes bacterial growth. Instead, drink green tea which contains polyphenols. It acts as a potent antioxidant and is anti-inflammatory, so it will improve your oral health.
Dental Products To Avoid
There are many dental care products to avoid; these include strong antiseptic mouthwashes, bleaching agents, hydrogen peroxide, fluoride toothpaste, alcohol breath fresheners, and other oral hygiene products. On the plus side, they kill bacteria but also promote dental plaque which will make things worse in the end.
Products for dental care are: antioxidant tooth powder and probiotic mouthwash. Consult your dentist for the best products for your situation.
Children are more susceptible to dental problems. They are prone to eating chocolates, candies, and sweets and thus get easily affected and suffer from tooth decay and other problems. So, it is important for parents to know the basics of good dental care and guide their children accordingly.
These few simple steps can keep you and your family from severe pain, health hazards and will help us to keep smiling all throughout the day.
The Last Word
Taking care of your teeth, gums, and the rest of your mouth, including the repair or replacement of defective teeth, is what defines dental care. It’s common to see a person suffering from dental diseases due to carelessness and lack of knowledge of good oral hygiene.
It is said that healthy gums and teeth are extremely important to keep your entire body system healthy and sound. Lack of proper care and regular check up with your dentist may lead to several diseases like tooth decay, gingivitis, dental plaque, periodontal disease, mouth odor, etc.
As you can see, you can help to prevent tooth decay by following these measures and solutions. It can also be reversed at an early stage. If cavities already exist, don’t delay visiting a dentist for treatment. It may be costly but will save you a lot of pain and tooth loss.